Why Choose To Move Towards District Elections Now?
On April 19, 2018, the Palm Springs City Council approved Resolution No. 24406 declaring its intention to transition to district elections, taking advantage of a legal protection that enables cities to transition to district elections voluntarily. In addition, the City has reached an agreement with the proponent to allow the City to conduct additional community outreach related to districting, provided that the process is completed by December 31, 2018.
What Is The Difference Between At-Large and District-Based Elections?
Palm Springs has an at-large election system, where voters of the entire city elect the Mayor and members of the City Council. District elections will divide the City into geographic sections. Voters within said section (district) will vote only for candidates residing within the same district. Voters will not vote for candidates outside of their own district.The City Council will also need to determine whether the Mayoral position should be elected at-large or be a rotating mayor.
What Are "Communities of Interest"?
A "community of interest" is a neighborhood or community that would benefit from being in the same district because of shared interest, views, or characteristics. Possible community features include:
- shared interests in schools, housing, crime, transit, health conditions, land use, and environmental conditions;
- common social and civic networks, including churches, temples, homeowner associations, and community centers, and shared use of community spaces, like parks and shopping centers;
- racial and ethnic compositions, cultural identities, and households that predominantly speak a language other than English;
- similar socio-economic status, including but not limited to income, home-ownership, and education levels;
- shared political boundary lines from jurisdictions other than City Council, including school districts, community college districts, and water districts;
- visible natural and man-made features, street lines and/or City boundary lines.
How Are District Elections Designed To Benefit Voters?
District elections are intended to allow groups of concentrated opposition voters to elect, or otherwise influence, candidates of their choice. Please click here for an enlarged graphic of at-large versus district elections.
How Can I Get Involved & Influence The Shaping of Districts?
Between now through December 2018, the City Council will conduct numerous Public Hearings and Community Engagement Forums to receive community feedback on the proposed composition of districts. Two Public Hearings will be held "pre-map" in which residents will be asked to provide input on potential "communities of interest" that will be used to influence the shaping of district maps. Two additional hearings will be held "post-map" and the community is invited to provide the City Council with feedback in selecting a preferred district map for adoption. Click here for more details about the Public Hearings and Community Engagement Forums.
Who Creates The District Maps?
You! Through your input and feedback on "communities of interest," you will provide valuable feedback to the City's demographer who will prepare several draft district maps. The demographer will ensure that the proposed maps comply with FVRA and CVRA requirements as well as consider the feedback of the community.
Beginning July 12, 2018, the community will have access to "public participation tool kits" which will allow individuals to prepare their own proposed district map(s). Individuals may utilize a simple paper-based tool kit or the online interactive mapping system. Once completed, draft maps may be submitted to the City Clerk's Office and the demographer will prepare a demographic summary for each map submitted.
Shouldn't This Go To The Voters For Approval?
Unfortunately, cities facing allegation of violating the CVRA could still be subject to litigation even if it submits the question of whether to switch to district elections to the voters. Even if the voters ultimately oppose switching to district elections, cities would remain vulnerable to accusations that the election resulted in polarized-voting in violation of the CVRA. Therefore, the City Council must decide whether to follow the procedures under Elections Code Section 10010 or to defend its at-large election system in court.